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What is the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is a network of tubes, tissues and organs that runs throughout your body.  It is part of your immune system, which helps protect you from infection.  It keeps our body fluids in balance and absorbs and transports helpful vitamins and hormones.  It is a vast network of vessels and nodes or glands and acts as a series of checkpoints and waste disposal system. The vessels collect fluid containing waste products, potentially harmful bacteria, and toxins away from the tissues around your skin, fat, muscle and bone, this fluid is called lymph.  The small bean shaped lymph nodes, filter the lymph and the waste moves on through the body where it is passed like other waste products.

Lymph is not pumped around your body by your heart.  Instead, it relies on skin movement to activate the network of drainage pathways, muscle movements squeezing the lymphatic vessels, and muscle cells in the walls of the lymphatic vessels that help squeeze and push the lymph along.  One-way valves inside the vessels stop the lymph flowing backwards. 

The lymphatic system: 1) Drains fluid from your tissues and returns it to your bloodstream.  2) Protects your body from disease by removing germs and toxins, and helps to destroy cells that are old, damaged, or abnormal.  3) Helps absorb fats and vitamins from your digestive system and transports them to your bloodstream.

It is important to keep the lymphatic system healthy and stimulate lymphatic drainage to avoid swelling and stagnation.  This can be enhanced through MLD.


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